Being a personal trainer San Diego, I joined several national personal training conferences this past year. I have been struck by the seemingly random nature which fitness fads come and go of fashion. A lot of people in the fitness world seem to move from one fad to another, without any apparent rhyme or reason. I think it is best to exercise what’s most effective, instead of bouncing from fad to fad.
In “aerobics” dance there was Jazzercise in the ’80’s, Tae Bo in the ’90’s, and nowadays something called “Zumba” has become the fitness dance craze. In other parts of fitness, a number of today’s popular exercises are tossing kettlebells up and down, boxing, ballistic Olympic weight lifting exercises, CrossFit, P90X, heavy hula hoop dancing, “boot camps”, plyometrics, stripper pole dancing (there is an actual personal trainer certification for this one, no joke).
I consider all of these methods as basically misguided, because I consider the reason for exercise to improve the body physically. And, basically all physical developments that may be motivated by exercise are due to loading your muscles. (Making your muscles work is actually how you “get at” and motivate not only the muscles, but the rest of the body’s systems. Extreme muscular work is what encourages improvements in your heart, lungs, endocrine system, immune system, general metabolism, and more.)
Done efficiently, exercise must load the muscles successfully, efficiently, safely, and therefore motivate the body to help improve. Rational strength training is made particularly to load your muscles effectively, efficiently, and safely. Conversely, the fitness fads listed above haven’t been specifically made for the purpose of optimal muscular loading. They are activities, which do involve some muscular work, but they’re not the result of a logical approach looking at the muscle and joint functions on the human body and how to load them best. Therefore, when appropriately executed, training for strength can give you comparatively greater fitness take a lesser amount of your time, and also with less risk of injury.
When correctly performed, high-intensity strength training may increase every aspect of general fitness. The research is pretty clear that when done effectively, training for strength can make you stronger, give you more endurance, add calorie-burning lean muscle mass to the body, halt and reverse age related muscle loss (sarcopenia), increase your metabolism and how many calories you burn even when you’re resting, improve fat loss, strengthen your bones, reverse aging of muscle cells (expresses younger DNA in the nuclei), improve the cardiovascular fitness, improve cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, improve low back pain, help control blood sugar, improve your immune system along with a variety of other benefits.
One mistake many people make is to expect their exercise program to be a reason for enjoyment. This is an error simply because the effective, efficient loading of your muscles encountered during high-intensity strength training is tough and difficult. When you’re really demanding your muscles and forcing them to work intensely, it’s not fun. But, it’s very effective for stimulating fitness improvements. On the other hand, even though some fitness fads mentioned earlier may be entertaining, in all cases they are comparatively ineffective and inefficient for loading the muscles, and in many cases those activities involve higher joint forces which are unacceptably dangerous (for instance, throwing weighted kettlebells up and down over your head is dangerous for some reasons, including the joint forces are too high). So, while effective workout is difficult while you are doing so, you can spend the other 167 hours and 20 minutes of your week having so much fun as you would like (since slow-motion strength training only takes 20 minutes, twice a week). Plus, if you’re like me you may also find joy in the superior fitness outcome from your exercise program, even though it is not fun while you are actually doing exercises.
So my advice to you as a personal trainer San Diego is to stay away from the latest fitness fads. Stick to slow-motion high-intensity strength training, and your exercise will still be extremely effective, efficient, and acceptably safe.
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